Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence in Florida?

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

The simple answer is no, although the two types of claims are similar. If you have suffered an injury, you and your lawyers may have to decide what kind of claim to bring for your damages. The cause of your injuries will determine what type of claims you will set forth. Two of the most common claims made in personal injury cases are premises liability claims and negligence claims.

Negligence

For a negligence claim, you will have to show:

  • That the defendant owed you a legal duty, typically, a duty of reasonable care
  • That the defendant breached that duty
  • That you, as the plaintiff, suffered injuries
  • That the defendant’s breach caused your injuries

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims are also negligence claims, but they differ in that they arise from unsafe conditions on someone else’s property rather than any negligent behavior on the defendant’s part. In other words, the plaintiff is injured due to some hazardous condition that the property owner/manager should have corrected, such as:

  • Wet or slick floors,
  • Dangerous animals, 
  • Exposed wiring,
  • Exposed dangerous chemicals,
  • Cracked or uneven flooring,
  • Holes in the floor or the ground,
  • Stairs in need of repairs,
  • Lack of warning signs around an unsafe condition,
  • Malfunctioning equipment, or
  • Insufficient or lack of security.

For a premises liability claim, you will have to establish:

  • That the property owner or manager owed you a duty of care
  • That the property owner or manager breached this duty of care owed to you
  • That you, as the plaintiff, suffered injuries
  • That the defendant’s breach caused your injuries

Duty of Care

The duty of care is the most challenging element to establish because it depends on the reason the person was on the property. People who enter into another’s property are generally classified as invitees, licensees, or trespassers for the purpose of determining the duty of care owed to them.

  • Invitees. Invitees are people who enter onto another’s property for some legitimate business purpose; for example, customers, and the highest duty of care is owed.
  • Licensees. Licensees are people who enter onto another’s property with permission for a social purpose, such as a social gathering, and are owed the second highest duty of care.
  • Trespassers. Trespassers are those that enter onto another’s property without permission and are owed the lowest duty of care.

Breach of the duty of care, causation, and actual injury are relatively simple to determine.

Contact the Florida Premises Liability Attorneys for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

If you have suffered a personal injury, deciding whether to bring a negligence claim or a premises liability claim can be complicated.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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